30 May 2011

Nature Magazine...

I picked up a couple of copies of Nature Magazine from the Big Chicken Barn outside of Ellsworth, Maine.  I think the cover illustrations are charming, but can find almost no information about the artist.  The vignettes are signed "Hexom".  There are no credits on the contents page and all I've turned up so far in my online research is a few mentions on some used book sites of a Bronson Hexom who did create illustrations for Nature.   At the moment, I've no further clues, so if you know anything about this artist, I'd love to hear from you.

The identity of the artist who created this
quite attractive owl is also a mystery.

24 May 2011

Floraline redux...

 I found a few more pieces of Floraline this weekend.

I was ambivalent about buying this one.  I really like that murky green, but I've learned that the white examples are harder to find so I gave in.  Besides, it's an early piece in mint condition and the woman I purchased it from was perfectly lovely.  If I don't consign it to decorative object status, I think it might do quite well as a kibble trough.  Apparently, it's the ideal shape for reducing "whisker stress".

 A later piece, produced after Lancaster Colony Corporation
took over McCoy in the 1970's.

I really love this one.  It has the same serene 
simplicity as the vase I purchased last week.

21 May 2011

object :: McCoy Floraline Vase

I recently found this at a thrift shop and couldn't leave without it.  It's a Floraline vase, produced by the Nelson McCoy Pottery in the late 1960's and designed specifically for the florist's trade.  The Floraline line is quite varied, with quasi-Classical urns and elegant tall vases as well as the simpler bowl shapes.  The Floraline esthetic was designed to unobtrusively compliment rather than detract from floral creations.   The configuration of the mark suggests that this vase was made after 1967, when McCoy became a subsidiary of Mount Clemens Pottery.

Here's another example with a slightly darker glaze.  What I love about this pottery is its quite elegant, almost Japanese simplicity.  It's modern, yes, but the uneven glazing suggests a human hand at work.  The glazes are luminous, soft, and soothing and the colors agreeably earthy.  I hadn't planned on beginning another collection, but I think I've been properly seduced. 

12 May 2011

Brimfield Antiques Week...

Tuesday marked the beginning of the 2011 Brimfield season.  This weeklong outdoor antique show, held each May, July, and September is the largest of its kind in New England.  Spanning one mile along Route 20 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the show hosts thousands of dealers from around the world and is visited by hundreds of thousands of collectors keen to find some must-have treasure.  I arrived yesterday morning around 9:00 but parking was uncharacteristically difficult to find even at that early-ish hour.  Many of the fields open at daybreak and close around 5:00 or 6:00 P.M.  You absolutely cannot see this show in one day and many people move in to the surrounding communities for the week.  Some fields open later in the week, so if there's a dealer you're interested in visiting it's helpful to know when he or she will be there.

Some tips:  Go as early as possible, not just to avoid the gladiatorial competition for a parking spot, but to have first choice of the best stuff.  You've got interior designers, magazine editors, major and minor celebrities and lots of savvy collectors and dealers looking for the same thing you are.  Get there first.
Bring paper money.  Many dealers will accept cash or checks but not plastic.  There are ATM machines available somewhere along the Route if you need them.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing and be prepared for strange weather. Be kind to your feet - you may be on the hunt for several hours. Even in May, it can get cold.  Yesterday was freezing.  People were wearing down parkas and mittens. July is typically kiln-like. Snow, hail, tornadoes, and downpours of a Biblical nature have been known to add some excitement to the day.
Do your homework.  It's fun just to wander about, but it can get overwhelming very quickly.  If you're looking for something in particular, try to figure out in advance where it might be.  This site and this site have some dealer links as well as maps and accommodation info. 
Be nice.  There are a lot of really good people at these shows.  Most are delighted to share lots of information and help you find what you need and they will be willing to lower their prices for people who ask kindly. 

The next show runs from July 12 through 17 and the final show runs from September 6 through 11. Enjoy the pictures!

08 May 2011

shameless exploitation...

The relentless overexposure of my cats continues with the Foof and Bob Mother's Day Tote Bag.  Roomy enough to fit all kinds of other treats inside and what woman alive wouldn't want to show off pictures of her darling grandchildren? 

(Once upon a time - the gracious author with her mother)

Wishing you a very happy Mother's Day, Mum!